The Via Dolorosa (Latin,"Way of Grief" or "Way of Suffering") is a street, in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion. The winding route from the Antonia Fortress west to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — a distance of about 600 metres (2,000 feet) — is a celebrated place of Christian pilgrimage. The current route has been established since the 18th century, replacing various earlier versions. It is today marked by nine Stations of the Cross; there have been fourteen stations since the late 15th century, with the remaining five stations being inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Pool of Bethesda
Ruins of twin pools in the north side of the old city, close to the Lions gate. These pools supplied water to the temple during the times of the first and second temple (until Herod). There are references in the old testament to the "upper pool", which may have been the name of the northern pool.
Adjacent to the pools were baths and a healing center. These baths are the site of the healing miracle of Jesus in the pools of the sheep market, which was also called "Bethesda".
Later, a Byzantine basilica was built over parts of the pools. The Crusaders built a small chapel over its ruins, and later a larger Basilica nearby.
The Church of Saint Anna, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This large and beautiful church is near the Lions gate, close to the north side of the temple mount, and adjacent to the site of the pools of Bethesda. It is one of the few surviving large structures from the 12th C Crusaders period. It was built over the ruins of a 5th C AD Byzantine church.
The church is dedicated to Anna and Joachim, who according to tradition lived here, and the site where their daughter, Virgin Mary, was born in a cave which is located under the basilica.
In 1140 a large Church was built in a new site south of the pools, where the present Church stands today, and above the caves which were according to Crusaders tradition the birthplace of Mary. It was dedicated to St. Anna, Mary's mother.
In 1192 Saladin captured the city and converted St. Anna to a school. Later, during the Mamlukes, the school was a famous institute.
The Ottomans let the structure decay, and only in 1878 the church was returned to Christian ownership, under French management.
The structure is based on three halls of the same size, separated from each other by two rows of columns, each with a base shaped as a cross. The base of the north and south walls and its columns are part of the Byzantine church, while the rest of the structure is dated to the Crusaders period (12th C).
A western view of the Church, with the main and side entrances. This is a 900 year old Crusaders structure, one of the largest standing Crusaders structures in Israel.
The Church of Flagellation is located on the east side of the courtyard.
The Church of the Flagellation is a Roman Catholic church located in the eastern or old section of Jerusalem, near the Saint Stephen's Gate. Also included in this complex are the Franciscan Monastery of the Flagellation, and the Church of the Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross.
The church altar is seen above. The ceiling is supported by pink marble columns.
The corner near the entrance, Jesus in agony.
The Catholic Franciscan chapel of the "Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross" is located in their complex at station #2 of Via Dolorosa. According to tradition, this was the site where Jesus took up his cross after being sentenced. It is based on the finding of large Roman pavement stones that may have been part of Pilate's judgment seat for the condemnation of Jesus, and the place where Jesus took up his cross after being sentenced.
For many Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem, the most important and meaningful thing they will do while in the city is walk the Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus took between his condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial. The Via Dolorosa pilgrimage is followed by Christians of many denominations, especially Catholics and Orthodox
The Via Dolorosa pilgrimage been followed since early Christianity, beginning as soon as it became safe to do so after Constantine legalized the religion (mid-4th century). Originally, Byzantine pilgrims followed a similar path to the one taken today, but did not stop along the way. Over the centuries, the route has changed several times.
By the 8th century, the route had changed: beginning at the Garden of Gethsemane, pilgrims headed south to Mount Zion then doubled back around the Temple Mount to the Holy Sepulchre. The Middle Ages saw two rival routes, based on a split in the Latin Church: those with churches to the west went westward and those with churches in the east went eastward.
From the 14th to 16th centuries, pilgrims followed the Franciscan route, which began at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and included eight stations. Around this time, the tradition of 14 Stations of the Cross was developing in Europe. To avoid disappointing European pilgrims, the difference was made up with the addition of six more stations.
Today, the main route of the Via Dolorosa is that of the early Byzantine pilgrims, with 14 stations along the way. However, alternative routes are followed by those who have different opinions on the locations of various events. Anglicans believe Jesus would have been led north towards the Garden Tomb, while Dominican Catholics start from Herod's Palace near Jaffa Gate.
For most pilgrims, however, the exact location of each event along the Via Dolorosa is of little importance; the pilgrimage has great meaning due to its proximity to the original events and the reflection upon them along the way.
The site of the Ecce Homo Convent contains important remains from Roman times. Since the Crusaders, Christian tradition has placed the beginning of the Via Dolorosa in this area. Here we recall Christ's suffering at the hands of the Roman soldiers and his trial by Pontus Pilate. The name "Ecce Homo" refers to John 19:5
Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them: "Behold the Man".
This Palace and Fortress was built by King Herod and was named after his friend Mark Anthony. Titus destroyed most of this Palace in AD 70. The remains at the entrance "the Lithostrotos / Pavement " is still there, upon which Jesus was tried by Pilate. Markings on the floor were made by the Roman legionnaires for playing games such as the "Basilicus" or the game of the King.
The route of the Via Dolorosa begins near the Lions' Gate in the Muslim Quarter and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter, covering 500 meters and incorporating 14 Stations of the Cross. Unfortunately, the Via Dolorosa can prove a difficult place for prayer and contemplation, as it travels through busy streets lined with snack bars and tourist shops.
Each of the 14 Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa is marked with a plaque, but these small signs can be difficult to spot. Probably the best way to be sure of recognizing all the stations is to join the Friday procession or a guided walk.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, known as the Church of the Resurrection (Anastasis) to Eastern Orthodox Christians, is a Christian church in the Old City of Jerusalem.
It stands on a site that encompasses both Golgotha, or Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and the tomb (sepulchre) where he was buried.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 4th century, and it remains the holiest Christian site in the world.
Accounts of Ethiopian presence in Jerusalem invoke the Bible to establish the origin of Ethiopian presence in Jerusalem.
Accordingly, some Ethiopians refer to the story of the encounter in Jerusalem between Queen of Sheba–believed to have been a ruler in Ethiopia and environs–and King Solomon, cited, for instance, in I Kings 10: 1-13.
According to this version, Ethiopia’s presence in the region was already established about 1000 B.C. possibly through land grant to the visiting Queen, and that later transformation into Ethiopian Orthodox Christian monastery is an extension of that same property.
Others refer to the New Testament account of Acts 8: 26-40 which relates the conversion to Christianity of the envoy of Ethiopia’s Queen Candace (Hendeke) to Jerusalem in the first century A.D., thereby signaling the early phase of Ethiopia’s adoption of Christianity. This event may have led to the probable establishment of a center of worship in Jerusalem for Ethiopian pilgrims, priests, monks and nuns.
Keeping these renditions as a backdrop, what can be said for certain is the following: Ethiopian monastic activities in Jerusalem were observed and reported by contemporary residents and sojourners during the early years of the Christian era.
By the time of the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem and the region (634-644 A.D.) khalif Omar is said to have confirmed Ethiopian physical presence in Jerusalem’s Christian holy places, including the Church of St. Helena, which encompasses the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Subsequently, upon their conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, the Crusaders had kicked out Orthodox/Coptic monks from the monasteries and installed Augustine monks instead. However, when in 1187 Salaheddin wrested Jerusalem from the Crusaders, he restored the presence of the Ethiopian and other Orthodox/Coptic monks in the holy places.
Crusaders' signature arches.